Tag Archives: media

Your Modern American Sweatshop

Oh how I love these people who post ads on Craigslist (click to enlarge):

CraigslitEBook

Wow, the chance to write a 10,000-word eBook for a whopping $50 bucks! Who could turn down such a lucrative opportunity, especially since if they like your work, there’s the opportunity for more such wonderful assignments!

/sarcasm

I mean, cripes: when I ranted about this four years ago the going rate was $5 bucks for a 500-word blog post. My how things have totally not changed. You do the math.

Used to be sweatshops were places in China where they made cheap T-shirts sold at the Gap and Old Navy. Now, it appears sweatshops have entered the white collar job market.

Just, fuck you all very much. Write the damn book yourselves.

[UPDATE]:

Ha! This guy has the right idea!

musicians

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Filed under media

Elections 4 $ale

I’m trying not to be too upset about SCOTUS’ ruling lifting the cap on individual campaign contributions. I mean, think about it: if money alone could decide an election, we’d have President Gingrich and Vice President Adelson today.

Trust me, I’m not thinking this is a good thing by any means. But let’s be real, the rich are not our betters, nor are they necessarily any smarter than anyone else. I just trotted over to OpenSecrets.org and got a look at Lee and Kelly Beaman’s latest campaign contributions. Here I found they both donated generously to Liz Cheney’s aborted senate campaign — not exactly a smart investment, since any idiot knew she wasn’t going to go the distance — as well as the notorious Palin grift vehicle known as SarahPAC. Now that we know they can just keep on giving, maybe these folks will all be bankrupt before too long. Fools and their money, after all.

The place this is really going to hurt, I think, is on things like ballot initiatives and local elections. Because even though this ruling only applied to federal elections, I have to wonder if states aren’t going to do away with their own restrictions now. Seems like a few have already tried.

But you know, here’s the thing: Congress could pass a law. They could say that corporations aren’t people and money isn’t speech and all of that other stuff. They could pass a law saying all federal elections have to be publicly financed. They won’t, but they could, if we elect the right people. So elections do matter.

Also, you know who the big beneficiary of this is, right? The corporate media. All of those campaign contributions run straight into their coffers, most of them at least. That explains a helluva lot, don’t it?

Gotta think the Founding Fathers are rolling over in their graves right now, though. If money is speech, the poor are voiceless. Is that your vision of America? Shameful.

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Filed under campaign finance, Media, Supreme Court

Follow The Links, People

[UPDATE]:

Thanks to my friends at Wonkette, it appears this whole smear started in the most predictable of places: the lying liar Frank Luntz:

LuntzTweet

Well, nobody could’ve anticipated ….

———————————————————–

This almost seems too petty to be believed, except it’s such a classic example of how the right-wing smear machine works that I just had to share it.

Our travel through the conservative cesspool begins at The New York Times, where we have this innocuous little story about the White House executive pastry chef leaving his position in June. Here’s the tantalizing lede:

WASHINGTON — The first lady, Michelle Obama, is soon to lose her executive pastry chef, Bill Yosses. And she is partly to blame.

Ooh, yummy! What did that wretched woman do now? Ah, it’s all fun and games, as the story goes on to say that FLOTUS has inspired Chef Yosses’ newfound interest in healthy food. Oh, okay! They were joshing us. Indeed, Yosses was originally famous for his rich desserts, but he changed his ways at the direction of Mrs. Obama and has a new culinary calling. Not only has he changed his own diet, he’s found a new passion for creating healthier yet still delicious dessert treats:

She has piqued his interest in the relationship between food and health, he said in a recent telephone interview, so the man who made the Hawaiian chocolate-malted ganache for the White House state dinner for France is now headed to New York with an aim to teach children and adults about eating better. In the meantime, he has given up his usual breakfast doughnuts for a smoothie made with apple, kale, spinach and ginger — from time to time.

Oh! So the Times was just using a time-honored literary device to pull readers into the story. Nicely done. The chef further tells the Times,

The result — oatmeal bars, baked apples and pear-quince cobblers, among many others — will have a lasting impact on his eating habits, as will Mrs. Obama.

“She has done it with humor and good will, without preaching, just the way you would hope the ‘Mom in chief’ would do,” Mr. Yosses said. He called her “definitely an inspiring boss, a combination of spontaneity and seriousness.”

Hugs and kisses all around! The openly gay chef will get to finally live with his husband of three years — they’ve been separated for their entire 11-year-relationship — and Chef Yosses has found a new career direction. So, a nice little (dare I say it?) fluff piece, yes? Nothing to see here, move along.

Unless you’re The Daily Caller, of course! Over at Tucker Carlson’s Little Conservative Lie Machine, a nothing little story about the White House pastry chef is given a complete 180 and turned into a major smear of FLOTUS.

Here’s the screen shot:

daily_caller_smear

Nice way to take quotes out of context there, guys! See how they mashed up the Times piece to put an entirely new spin on what Chef Yosses actually said:

White House executive pastry chef Bill Yosses is resigning after First Lady Michelle Obama fundamentally changed his job duties to focus on healthier food.

Yosses is leaving the White House in June to work on a new project focusing on “food literacy” and The New York Times says Michelle is “partly to blame.” The openly gay chef was hired by Laura Bush in 2007 to make his trademark cookie plates and sugar sculptures. Mrs. Obama took over in 2009 and ordered Yosses to make healthier plates in smaller portions.

Yosses began replacing butter with fruit puree and sugar with honey and agave. But Yosses was never fully committed to the new policy.

“I don’t want to demonize cream, butter, sugar and eggs,” Yosses said, noting that his departure from the White House is a “bittersweet decision.”

Oh, I see what you did there! That nice twisting of facts and quotes to give them an entirely new context is what we in the business call “fundamentally true but essentially bullshit.” Just enough plausible deniability to prevent a lawsuit in these United States — but don’t try that shit in Britain, Patrick Howley! You’d get your ass sued.

Oh, and give them extra points for actually linking to the original New York Times story. That takes balls. It appears the business model of The Daily Failure is to assume nobody follows links. Considering how lazy the right wing readership is, I’d say that’s a pretty good gamble.

But our little story isn’t finished, kids. Nope: along come the usual rabble of right-wing idiots like Tennessee’s own Marsha Blackburn to post the “smear” version of the Chef Yosses story on Facebook, with a snarkly little anti-Obama quip to feed her brain-dead followers:

blackburn page

This takes talent, it really does. This is how the conservative bubble operates. None of this would work if just one person followed the links from a Daily Caller story and actually compared the two versions. But they don’t. Clearly Marsha Blackburn didn’t — she didn’t need to. Because what matters to them is not what’s actually true, but what they want to be true. And they want to believe that even the White House pastry chef hates Michelle Obama. The entire right-wing spin machine is created to make a fringe minority believe they are a persecuted majority. It’s how the outrage stays alive.

This is not something Democrats need to aspire to in any way, shape or form, but it is something we need to be aware of the next time someone tries to launch another Swift Boat attack on a war hero or tries to sell death panels and FEMA camps to the masses.

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Filed under conservatives, FLOTUS, food, media, Rep. Marsha Blackburn

Stupid Media Tricks

[UPDATE]:

Yup, I nailed it.

———————————–

I’m pretty sure I know how this one is gonna go:

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – A Middle Tennessee congresswoman is set to appear on Meet the Press this Sunday, where she will go head-to-head with a public television icon.

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-7th District, will take on Bill Nye “the Science Guy” over climate change.

Puh-leeze. Is Meet The Press so hard up for ratings? Here’s what’s going to happen: Blackburn will do what all of the Republican women do when they’re on shows like this, which is start talking and not come up for air, refusing to let anyone get a word in edgewise, endlessly repeating their Frank Luntz-approved talking points, until we’re all brain-dead. Any time Bill Nye starts to speak she will interrupt him and serve another breath-defying and time-consuming heaping of world salad. The host, in this case David Gregory, will sit there with a stupid grin on his face and not do a thing that closely approximates “moderating a panel,” though he’ll occasionally interject some useless nonsense to show how smart and important he is (such as mentioning hockey sticks or some such). If and when Bill Nye finally is able to get one word in, Gregory will interrupt him with, “Sorry, Bill, that’s all the time we have, we’re going to have to leave it there.”

I hate this shit. American news bobbleheads like David Gregory are little more than chair warmers these days. There won’t be any hard-hitting questions and unlike on the BBC, there certainly won’t be any attempt to let everyone get out a complete thought and prevent the continuous interruptus which the GOP deploys. These gimmicks end with me yelling “shut the fuck up” at the TV and getting crabby and stabby.

And after all that we get to see Mitt Romney, too? No, thanks.

13 Comments

Filed under climate change, media, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee

I’m Mad As Hell

Truly nothing shows how completely useless our news media has become than the endless discussion of the “Obama-Castro handshake.” This is Volume Two of the “Obama Bowed To Saudis” fauxtrage, another fabricated reaction to a completely meaningless incident. The Daily Show has already superbly skewered those pretending to be upset about this so I don’t need to go into all the times Republicans shook hands with horrible people. Suffice it to say, it’s just more manufactured outrage expressing the belief of the 27% that President Obama does not belong in the White House. How typical.

If the national news media hasn’t yet figured out that there’s nothing this president can do that won’t result in endless hand-wringing from the right wing over how the blackety-black Muslim usurper has destroyed American prestige and sullied the very institution of the American Presidency with his blackety blackness, then I really have no use for any of you.

I mean, Jesus. Did it completely escape your notice that Handshake-Gate came right on the heels of Selfie-Gate? Both completely overshadowed President Obama’s inspirational and defiant eulogy, which was both tribute and call to action to finish the work of Mandela, King and Gandhi. The utter irony of all of this is just tragic. The president’s message: continue fighting for justice and equality around the world. The message the American news media delivered: America’s first African American president is just not fit for office, he’s out of his element. Look how he behaves on the world stage. What an embarrassment.

Hey New York Times, CNN, network news: do y’all not have the self-awareness to see what you’re doing?

All I can say is, shame on you. Shame. On. YOU.

I eagerly await the day when some cable news reader takes one look at the Teleprompter and says, “You know what, guys? Fuck this shit. I’m not reading that. That’s just stupid.” I wonder if anyone on TV will follow the lead of the AFP photographer who took the so-called “selfie” picture. He said:

“Why do people care about a selfie?” he said. “This is a sad reflection of our society.” He’d gone to photograph the memorial with a team of ten photographers. They moved some 500 images on the wire. “Good images, nice, strong images,” he said. “Images of South Africans dancing, smiling, chanting, which is the way they express mourning for a man they consider to be their father.” It was a long ceremony; he took many photographs of world leaders giving speeches and South Africans grieving. And suddenly he saw the Danish prime minister lift her phone to take a photo of her face alongside seatmates Obama and Cameron. Schmidt dutifully clicked away. “They’re in front of you, this happens, you take the picture,” he said. “But I saw so many good images from that memorial. And the picture that’s getting played is the president in a selfie. That’s kind of a bummer.”

Yes, well, lesson learned. Now you know: when it comes to President Obama, the rules are different. Snapping a photo of the world’s most powerful man engaging in a candid moment with two other world leaders, acting like any other human being, is simply not done. Not when it’s Obama. If it were George W. Bush, that would be a different matter entirely. Because some people in America still just can’t get over the fact that there’s a black man in the White House and anything he does offends them. His very existence offends them.

And what’s worse is that the American news media eat this stuff up with a spoon every damn time. They simply can’t let right-wing uproar pass as the meaningless grumbling we know it is. These are sore losers who have been on the wrong side of every important issue since forever — yes, even the wrong side of the Apartheid issue. Why anyone pays attention to them, I do not know. Yet every time they call for the fainting couches it makes the national headlines.

This is how journalism dies in America. You’d think news people would be offended that their profession has been turned into the equivalent of a junior high school lunchroom. I guess you’d be wrong.

Please, someone, find your balls. Tell the people in charge to knock it off.

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Filed under media, President Obama, racism

Hey Amazon: Next Year Buy A Damn Ad

[UPDATE]:

Ha ha ha, via Balloon Juice:

BafhCYvCYAE_3E3

————————————————-

If last night’s “scoop” that Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos had a top secret plan to deliver packages by drone was supposed to restore 60 Minutes’ tarnished reputation, this blogger ain’t buying it.

What a load of utter bullshit. The idea defies common sense, logic, and economic reality, not mention civilian airspace. The whole thing had the stench of a “balloon boy” hoax to me. But that didn’t stop every single freaking news outlet from picking up the story and running with it. Even the dang BBC World Service had a long piece about it on the radio this morning.

All you need to know about Amazon’s mythic drone delivery program is that this BS piece ran on the eve of that other media-manufactured hoax, the so-called “Cyber Monday.” I’ve always wanted to know who invented “Cyber Monday,” I mean, it’s not like we all don’t have home computers and can shop online whenever we damn well please. What makes Monday so special? Absolutely nothing. Some marketing person invented this meaningless consumer BS. Forgive me but I refuse to play along.

But you know who will play along? 60 Minutes and every other media outlet which decided to give Jeff Bezos and Amazon loads of free publicity. Which, near as I can tell, is just about everybody.

Business Insider did the math:

How much was that free advertising worth?

“60 Minutes” gave more than 15 minutes to its Amazon story. A 30-second spot during the 7 p.m. show usually costs just over $100,000.

If you figure Amazon got 30 30-second commercials’ worth of time, you can estimate that it got about $3 million worth of “earned” media.

But $3 million is probably a very low estimate. That’s just the cost Amazon would have had to pay to reach “60 Minutes’” 13 million viewers. Thanks to all the coverage Amazon Prime Air has gotten in other outlets, many more millions of people are talking about the company today.

Yes, do remind me how blogs killed journalism. I’m all ears.

Apparently “drones” are the new “outragous campaign ad” PR stunt. You know how during campaign season some candidate posts a really heinous ad on YouTube which gets everyone riled up and the news media covers it as news, so the campaign doesn’t have to buy airtime? This is that:

After the “60 Minutes” show last night, a Hacker News reader compiled a list of previously announced delivery drone programs, many of which were also PR stunts:

Textbook drone delivery
Cake drone delivery
Pizza drone delivery
Parcel delivery drones
Beer delivery drones
Taco delivery drones
Sushi delivery drones
General delivery drones

Stupid news media falls for this stuff every damn time. Pwned by marketing people, meanwhile we’re supposed to believe everything else you people tell us? Pfft. Offa my lawn (and taxpayer-funded airwaves). If I wanted to watch free advertising I’d switch to a damn infomercial channel.

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Filed under advertising, media, Media, media manipulation

Cats Explain The News

I admit to being woefully ignorant of most things Pakistani, but I thought this “Pakistani Reactions To Breaking News Explained Through Cats” bit hilarious.

All breaking news should be explained through cats. Seriously.

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Filed under cat blogging, Media

PR Stunts

So let me get this straight: Teanuts like Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann push for the government shut-down which results in shuttered national parks and monuments. Then they orchestrate a PR stunt at the World War II Memorial with a bunch of veterans where they get to look like big damn heroes? And the media gobbles it up like candy?

“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Bachmann said. “It was big buses and a narrow strip of sidewalk, and there were all these veterans standing here behind police tape and they’re prevented from going in to see the memorial.”

Really? What the hell did you think would happen when you shut down the government, lady?

Gohmert Tweeted photos of himself with the veterans. This was grandstanding of the highest order, an obvious PR ploy and attempt to deflect any responsibility for the mess they themselves created:

Gohmert and other Republican members of Congress also went to the memorial and criticized the government for preventing visitors from coming to the memorial.

“We’ve got park service employees out here,” Gohmert said before the gates were opened. “Why wouldn’t you have them here to allow the veterans in, instead of stand and keep them from coming in?”

Umm, because it’s closed? Because you closed it? Do you break into convenience stores when they’re closed, too?

Again: the national media ate this BS up like candy. No one, not WTVF (my local CBS affiliate) or CNN or even the Associated Press bothered to point out that the very “heroes” breaking down the barricades were the people who voted for the shutdown in the first place.

And that’s it in a nutshell, folks. That’s all this whole government shutdown thing is: one big giant PR stunt. One chance to capture donations and B-Roll and optics for the 2014 election. I mean I’m sure it’s all a big coinky-dinky that news cameras were on site as Gohmert and Bachmann busted through those barricades, right?

Wake up and smell the bullshit.

I’m not surprised that the media plays along with this nonsense. They’re the ones reaping the financial rewards when campaign season rolls around and the TV ads start running. This is collusion of the highest order.

Shame on all of you.

More from Wonkette ….

[UPDATE]:

And more from Gawker. Apparently the vets were flown in on a chartered jet and Reince Priebus has vowed to keep the WWII memorial open.

If you don’t think this whole thing wasn’t manufactured for its PR value, I have a bridge to sell you. Wonder how many fundraising emails this little stunt has spawned?

And yes, maybe Bachmann, Gohmert and Steve Palazzo should have worked harder to keep from closing the thing in the first place.

14 Comments

Filed under Congress, Media, media manipulation

Ersatz Politics

Ted Cruz’s marathon bloviating session is no filibuster — he’s going to have to sit down and shut up when the Senate convenes this afternoon, because he doesn’t have the power to stop the cloture vote. But this little charade provides us with a useful peek behind the curtain of our modern political establishment.

You have a powerless faction pretending to take a bold stand on an issue that’s already been decided — after first negotiating the terms of this piece of theater with the opposition ahead of time. Meanwhile the facts-be-damned news media winks and nods and plays along, and partisans on both sides of the aisle prepare to exploit this for donations.

This isn’t politics, this isn’t even the peoples’ business, it’s theater. Or, as Charles Pierce put it, just part of the never-ending campaign that has taken over our modern American political discourse:

As has been pointed out, this is something of a mock filibuster, but that’s because it isn’t an attempt to do serious legislative business. It’s an extended campaign commercial, B-Roll for the local stations in Ottumwa and Council Bluffs.

Eggg-zackly. Really, that’s all this is — that’s all anything coming out of Washington is these days. It’s all one giant PR campaign as both sides scramble to “define the issue” (any issue, it doesn’t matter) and prepare the flood of fundraising e-mails and direct mail requests. Washington has become one vast telemarketing and direct mail operation. Ted Cruz is merely the clip art for this week’s campaign. Next week it will be someone else.

This isn’t me being cynical, this is reality. This is how Washington works today and make no mistake: is feature not bug. This politics of dysfunctional is working exactly as intended for those on the inside. It’s the raison d’etre for that whole “politico-industrial complex” I wrote about a year ago. Nothing has really changed except now the star players are members of Congress themselves.

With all of this going on it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that what Ted Cruz’s theater is all about is denying people access to affordable private, for-profit health insurance. Because no one really hears that amid all of the other Kabuki. And that’s the biggest shame of all.

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Filed under Congress, filibuster, healthcare, Media, media manipulation

People, I Bring You The Term “Chucksplains”

MSNBC chucklehead Chuck Todd “Chucksplains” the media’s role in the age of truthiness: not to present factual information, nooo that is so old fashioned, you guys! That’s how they did it in the old days when journalists wore green eyeshades and papers were sold by street urchins in knee britches who shouted the headlines at you when you walked by.

No, see, nowadays what we have is a marketplace of ideas, all of them equally valid, I mean I dunno, maybe not, but does it really matter? And the media simply goes with whatever set of facts has been most successfully sold to them in said marketplace. Freedom! And ponies!

TPM has the ugly details:

During a segment on “Morning Joe,” former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) speculated that most opponents of the Affordable Care Act have been fed erroneous information about the law. Todd said that Republicans “have successfully messaged against it” but he disagrees with those who argue that the media should educate the public on the law. According to Todd, that’s President Barack Obama’s job.

“But more importantly, it would be stuff that Republicans have successfully messaged against it,” Todd told Rendell. “They don’t repeat the other stuff because they haven’t even heard the Democratic message. What I always love is people say, ‘Well, it’s you folks’ fault in the media.’ No, it’s the President of the United States’ fault for not selling it.”

Wonkette has the hilarious follow-up where Todd took to Twitter to claim he’d been misquoted. Silly, silly Chuck Todd! Doesn’t he know they’re just going with the version of the truth which had been most successfully sold to them? Chuck, honey, it’s just the free hand of the market deciding you’re an idiot and a really bad journalist.

Suck it up. Also, irony.

4 Comments

Filed under Media, MSNBC